By James C. Porter
In the midst of technological advancement nowadays, the “back-to-basics” rule still applies when it comes to getting hired for a job. It does not matter if you are planning to apply for a million-dollar company or a small, independent firm. When you face an interviewer, it all boils down to how you present yourself. This is the deciding factor whether you will get hired or not.
Here are 7 easy steps on how you can improve your interviewing skills:
1.) Prepare for the interview.
First, dress appropriately. Once the interviewer walks into the room, or once you walk into the room to be interviewed, your appearance will be the first thing to make the impact. Dress appropriately, check your grooming and mind your posture.
Second, practice basic courtesy. Know where the interview will be held and be there with ample time to prepare yourself before the scheduled interview. Turn your phone or PDA off to avoid unnecessary distractions.
Use all your resources to make sure that you know the basics about the company. You would not want to be caught unprepared when asked about how you heard or what you know about the company that you are applying for.
Learn about your potential employer. In your mind, develop a clear picture of the company profile.
Make sure that you prepared answers to a few basic questions, but do not sound scripted. This happens when you rehearse what you will be saying word for word. It is enough that you have an overview of what you will impart to the interviewer, and it is better to be spontaneous.
3.) Be cool.
Step forward when the interviewer comes into the room. Make a great first impression by maintaining eye contact, giving the interviewer a firm handshake, a friendly smile and a polite greeting. Sit only when you are asked to do so and do not forget to thank the interviewer for taking time off of his or her busy schedule to interview you.
Make sure to start on a positive note and set the proper expectations.
4.) Do not sell yourself short.
In the course of the interview, answer the questions briefly and accurately. The key is to be honest.
Make sure that as a prospective employee, you impart to your future employer who you really are and what you can do for the company, not the other way around. Stay positive and do not speak poorly about your previous employer.
If you are applying for job where you have no industry experience, do not let your lack of experience hinder you from gaining the advantage against more experienced applicants. What you lack in experience, make up for in confidence and eagerness to learn.
You may also put yourself in the employer’s shoes. Ask yourself, if I were on the other side of this desk, what qualities should I look for in a potential employee? Would I profit if he works for me and can he contribute to the development of the company?
Do not be afraid to sell yourself. Just project an air that you are sure of yourself and your capabilities.
When asked to describe your or you hear the question “tell me about yourself” go right into each company you worked for, starting with the first position, and explain how you’ve impacted the bottom line in a positive way for each company. Its all about money and you need to show you can make this potential employer money.
5.) Ask questions.
Should you encounter a difficult interviewer, do not be intimidated. One who does not let you put in a word edgewise should be lightly reminded that you should do most of the talking since he is the one who needs to learn more about you.
6.) Wrap it up
As you near the end of the interview, make sure that all bases are covered. Now is not the time to discuss or even ask about the salary and the benefits that you will receive once employed. There is ample time for that in follow interviews or conversations.
Wrap things up by summarizing your strengths and pointing out your positive traits and why you’re excited about the opportunity. Finally, CLOSE….don’t think that by asking what the next step is and being told by the interviewer what it is that you’ve closed the interview….not even close. Once you are told what the next step is…Ask for it and get it set up before you leave…This is a sales call. You get what you ask for.
7.) Follow up.
Send that all-important thank you note after the interview. Thank the interviewer for the time that he took with you and for giving you that opportunity. Make sure that you know who to contact for follow-up of the results. Send one copy in the mail and one by email. This way you get on top of their mind 2 more times in a short period of time.